PENN HILLS (KDKA) — The Pennsylvania Auditor General says he’s planning to investigate the finances of the Penn Hills School District.

“We’ve never seen anything like this,” said state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

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DePasquale announced Friday that that his office would be looking into the Penn Hills School District budget deficit of at least $18 million.

“No school district in Pennsylvania has an issue like this, an $18 million problem out of nowhere,” DePasquale said.

The former school district business manager Richard Liberto, who said he called the Auditor General’s Office last February to warn of growing deficit problems, told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti Friday night, “I think it needed to be done. I only wish the audit had been done months ago.”

Liberto was put on paid administrative leave by the school district in March with officials saying they were growing more concerned about the worsening financial picture Penn Hills was facing.

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He has never been charged with any crime. He cites pension and charter school problems as major issues causing funding problems.

Liberto said he tried to warn the administration repeatedly, but officials either weren’t getting the message or didn’t want to admit there was a major shortfall.

DePasquale says the state audit could begin as early as next week, and should wrap up by March of 2016.

DePasquale wants to know how the school district spends its money, what it’s spent on, and whether the district is being transparent with the public.

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